Nurses in different health facilities have failed to report to work, even after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the striking nurses in the respective Counties to go back to work by 8:00 am Friday. The Head of State had outlined that nurses who will fail to go back to work would face dismissal, and on Friday, Labour CS Ukur Yattani said the final move now rests with the employers. Speaking to the press, CS Yattani said the nurses will answer to contempt charges in Court on Monday after they failed to honour a Court order calling for an end to the strike for 60 days to pave the way for conciliation talks. He said President Kenyatta’s statement was only reiterating already known facts, “The responsibility of undertaking disciplinary action on the striking workers will be left to the employers. That’s what the President reiterated,” he said, listing the Ministry of Health and Council of Governors representing the Counties as having the final say now. “If an employee withholds his labour, that is in contravention of an employment contract between the employer and employee,” he added.
He has urged striking nurses to go and review their stance since patients are suffering, “At the heart of business is the Kenyan public who have been denied service in the various health facilities,” he said, “We live in a state where the rule of law must be obeyed, and the law of this country is supreme and must be followed.” The nurses strike is in its second week with elect Counties countrywide affected. After President Kenyatta’s directive days ago, Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) Secretary-General Seth Panyako reiterated that the strike is properly protected according to the Constitution and urged nurses to stand firm and fight for their rights.
Panyako revealed that Counties that had paid the nurses allowances as earlier agreed at that time are Migori, Machakos, Kwale, Nairobi, Mombasa and Vihiga. He said that there are Counties which have not received any strike notice owing to the commitment made to members to effect payment, however, he said if non-payments will be made by the end of this month, they’ll receive strike notices. The Counties are Baringo, Laikipia, Meru, Bungoma, Nyamira, Kajiado, Kilifi, Lamu, Nandi, and Turkana.